As enterprises embrace digital transformation and make greater use of advanced technologies like the cloud, data analytics, AI and ML, websites brought within the wider business ecosystem are empowered to play a much wider and more critical role. In this article, we examine how that role is evolving in today’s digital landscape.
Reshaping customer relationships
In an age where customer experience (CX) is of vital importance to enterprises, the website’s role as the online home of the brand has never been so important. The value of digital transformation is that it enables the company to build better and stronger relationships with the consumer by providing the experiences they increasingly expect. The latest technologies offer new and improved ways to engage and communicate with audiences, enabling brands to interact seamlessly and with consistency across all touchpoints and via all channels.
Digital transformation also ensures that organisations have the data and the tools to be even more creative and innovative when it comes to engagement and communication and this enables websites to play a much wider and more valuable role.
Of key importance here is the modern website’s ability to deliver on smartphones which are now the chief way that people stay connected. Websites that are built in line with Google’s ‘Mobile-First’ philosophy, and which are as easy to use on a mobile phone as an app are well placed for success.
Building the ecosystem
For websites to be successful in the digital age, they cannot be isolated from an enterprise’s other systems. Integration into a unified ecosystem is essential to deliver the seamless experiences customers want, such as omnichannel shopping, omnichannel communications, personalisation and retailtainment. To provide these, an organisation needs to put end-to-end customer journey mapping in place so that it has a complete view of the interactions between customer and company across all touchpoints. Only this way can expectations be met and CX enhanced.
To achieve this, an enterprise will need to dismantle internal silos so all its valuable customer data can be unified with all the other data that it holds. Once unified, however, an organisation is able to take real advantage of the AI-enabled algorithms that generate the insights needed to drive better CX and improve customer relationships. Website visitors can be presented with individualised homepages where the products, services, offers, information and retailtainment displayed are those which are of personal relevance. In this way, finding the right product, service or information, getting the offer they want or being happily engaged or entertained is served to them, conveniently, on login.
What’s more, by integrating the website with other systems, it enables automated communications to be sent to customers not just by email but via their preferred channel, e.g., text message, WhatsApp or app notification. These data-driven and precisely targeted messages, whether marketing, transactional or regulatory, can also be scheduled to be sent at the times at which they are most likely to be read and acted upon.
An integrated website is also essential to be able to offer services like omnichannel shopping or click and collect. If a customer wants to order an item from the website and then pick it up from a nearby store, the website has to be fully connected to the company’s inventory, distribution, communications and customer service systems to ensure the item is in stock and available to collect and the customer kept informed.
The role of the chatbot
Another important feature of today’s customer-centric website is AI-enabled live chat. Able to handle simultaneous conversations at once, these powerful tools can drastically cut the cost of live chat services while delivering exceptional service to customers. Indeed, not only do they respond to customer questions to advise about products or services; they can also initiate conversations to engage visitors, help generate new sales and take care of aftersales queries.
From a customer experience point of view, they also eliminate some of the biggest pain points for online customers, namely the difficulty in finding how to get in touch and the length of time it takes to answer phone calls or get a manual live chat response. Addressing such obstacles and removing delays eradicates a great deal of frustration, especially from those with complaints who are often frustrated from the outset. Not only does this help improve relationships and solve issues earlier; it can also have a positive effect on reviews as the chatbot’s speed of response can result in fewer bad ratings.
As the central hub of an enterprise’s online presence, the modern website continues to play a crucial role. However, it needs to adapt to changing customer expectations, especially around CX. Digital transformation empowers modern websites to evolve to meet today’s expectations, however, this requires its integration into the wider business ecosystem. The best place to host this ecosystem, of course, is in the cloud.
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